David Gordon Green's George Washington scooped the top prize at this year's Turin Film Festival (November 17-25), marking the first time a US film has won the award since the festival was launched 18 years ago.

The 25-year-old US director used non-professional actors for his debut feature, which revolves around a group of young people living in a depressed farming town in the southern US.

The Jury's special prize went to Iranian title Yek Rouz Bishar, directed by Babak Payami. The film, set in Teheran on the eve of the millennium, tells the story of a widower who makes ends meet by selling medicine on the black market.

Egyptian director Khaled El Hagar won the Public's prize for Room To Rent, about a young Egyptian screenwriter, living in London, who embarks on a quest to find a wife as his visa is about to expire.

The festival's new documentary section awarded its top prize to Italian director Alessandro Angelini for Ragazzi Del Ghana, about two Ghanese teenagers who are about to move to Italy to try out with the Sampdoria football club.

The Turin festival, which is dedicated to films from emerging directors, was helmed for the second time by Stefano Della Casa. Sidebars included a popular section for contemporary Japanese films, a retrospective dedicated to veteran Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira, another on US animation filmmaker Chuck Jones, and a selection of works by American directors James Toback and Budd Boetticher.